As we celebrate Earth Month, we are thrilled to be taking off on a Spring ePlane Tour to Downtown Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, and Victoria, giving you a chance to get up close and personal with the future of sustainable flight.
April 22: Earth Day at Downtown Vancouver | 1055 Canada Place
Join us at Harbour Air’s Coal Harbour terminal as the ePlane makes its first public appearance in downtown Vancouver for Earth Day. The ePlane will be viewable from the Seawall.
May 5-6: Electrify on Salt Spring Island | 115 Fulford-Ganges Road
Harbour Air is thrilled to be participating in Electrify Salt Spring, a month-long program bringing experts on electrification and renewable technologies together. On May 5, the ePlane will make its first visit to the Gulf Islands, marking the first time the prototype plane will land on a scheduled flight route, from Richmond South to Salt Spring Island.
Join us on May 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ganges Harbour Airport to learn more about the future of zero-emissions air flight and take a closer look at the ePlane. Members of Harbour Air’s ePlane team will be on site to answer any burning questions, and of course our all-electric deHavilland Beaver will be on display.
We will also be participating in The Electrifying Issues for Salt Spring and BC panel on May 6 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gulf Islands Secondary School Multipurpose Room. More info about this panel can be seen here.
May 7-8: Victoria Harbour | 950 Wharf Street
Join us as the ePlane makes its first appearance in Victoria Harbour! The ePlane will be arriving on Sunday, May 7th, subject to suitable weather conditions, and will be viewable from the harbour.
On Monday May 8th between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. you’ll be able to learn about the future of sustainable flight from Harbour Air’s ePlane team, as well as take a closer look at the ePlane from the docks. The Flying Otter will be open and taking part in the festivities!
*Please note all events are weather dependent, stay tuned to our social media for the latest updates.
Happy Earth Day! It has been quite a while since we provided an update on our electric journey, mostly because our team has been focused on navigating the ever-changing path to certification for an all-electric aircraft. When we last posted, we had just completed our first point-to-point flight.
Since that amazing day, there have been many twists and turns on our path to certification. As we attempt to take the path never traveled before, overcoming challenges is very common in the commercialization and certification of new and novel technologies. Nonetheless, we are committed to realizing our goal of becoming an electric commercial air operator.
Over the past few months, certifying the installation of components into an aircraft where no certification path exists has been difficult. Adding to the challenge has been using novel engine and battery technology. Incorporating the elements of software and electronic control systems makes it increasingly difficult. The result? Despite everyone’s best efforts there are significant delays in the program that have recently come to light. Part of the delay in our updates has been due to us trying to understand the issues that have arisen, and the resulting consequences to the program.
Fundamentally, the technology has been outpacing the regulators. When this happens there is a risk that the regulators come to a different conclusion or interpretation. One such situation occurred when an assumption was made throughout the industry that an electric engine is equivalent to a reciprocating engine when it comes to system safety analysis and single fault tolerance to a loss of power control (LOPC). However, we since learned that the regulators will require a system safety analysis for a single electric engine installation to meet the reliability requirements, and that it must be single fault tolerant to an LOPC event. Additionally, the regulators will also be issuing a definition of what LOPC means for an electric engine later this month, as it will be different than that of an internal combustion engine.
So, what does that all mean? Considering the regulators have spent a year determining how LOPC applies to an electric engine, the result means that many companies working in this sector are revisiting their architecture to meet this requirement. Furthermore, given the ongoing supply chain issues with electronic components, changing what was thought to be a frozen design, comes with significant delays.
The next steps for the eBeaver:
- We are changing from the magni350 electric propulsion unit to the magni650 electric propulsion unit for ePlane 2.0. This will allow us to meet the LOPC requirements at the aircraft level.
- The entire engine and energy storage system installation is being evaluated to meet the higher reliability requirements.
- Our ground running certification prototype will be built early next year.
- ePlane 2.0 will likely fly later next year.
- The regulators do not expect to achieve harmonization on the battery requirements until late 2024, which means certification of battery components will occur in 2025.
- Certification of the magni650 is expected in mid 2025, which means certification for the installation on the eBeaver will fall after that date.
In the meantime, ePlane 1.0 will continue to fly and provide valuable data for the team on the effects on flight handling qualities and operational considerations. The importance of this prototype cannot be understated, as the lessons learned from this aircraft will allow us to design and build a superior product that meets certification requirements.
With over 70 test flights performed and crucial data gained, we’ve developed a better understanding of the behaviour, advantages, and limitations of a fully electric system, allowing us to determine certification compliance items. From this data we can understand our performance targets, decreasing the risk of validation flight testing later in the program.
The more we can run this system and gather data, the more we can predict behaviour. We’re also able to provide feedback to our partners, to help inform their design decisions moving forward.
We are buzzing to share that ePlane 1.0 is taking off on a Spring ePlane Tour celebrating Earth Day! Starting with its first trip to downtown Vancouver for Earth day, April 22nd, followed by a stop on Salt Spring Island May 5-6 to participate in Electrify Salt Spring, and onward to Victoria Harbour on May 7-8, subject to suitable weather conditions. More details about these events can be viewed here.
Sign up to our ePlane updates to be the first to know, and stay tuned to our social media and website for further information on how you can participate in these events! We can’t wait to see you there!
Until next time…
Harbour Air’s ePlane Team
The Harbour Air ePlane team is excited to announce that the first direct all-electric point to point test flight has been completed. The historic De Havilland Beaver has been completely retrofitted in 2019 to operate using 100% electricity flew 45 miles in 24 minutes. The aircraft left their terminal on the Fraser River adjacent to YVR and landed in Pat Bay adjacent to YYJ. This is a major milestone in the advancement of all-electric commercial flights.
Take-off was at 0812 with ample reserve power upon landing at 0836.
“I am excited to report that this historic flight on the ePlane went exactly as planned” said Kory Paul, Harbour Air’s Vice President of Flight Operations and one of the company’s test Pilots. “Our team as well as the team at magniX and Transport Canada are always closely monitoring the aircraft’s performance and today’s flight further proved the safety and reliability of what we have built”.
The ePlane will stay in Victoria to support Harbour Air’s partnership with the BC Aviation Museum, who is hosting an Open House on Saturday August 20th from 10am until 4pm, before returning back to Harbour Air’s Aerospace Maintenance Facility at YVR.
For further information on this project, please follow Harbour Air’s Going Electric page at Harbour Air ePlane Updates
Happy Holidays to our loyal ePlane followers!
As promised, we wanted to provide another update before the end of the year to let you know what’s happening with our electric plane project. It’s been all systems a go in Santa’s Hangar as we keep plugging along on this project. Although a lot of what is happening right now is on the regulatory side of the project, up until the first week of December we were still performing regular test flights and measuring all data. In fact, we have completed over 30 test flights and have determined the power settings for the magniX motor best suited for our installation. We are planning on investigating glide performance next.
Unfortunately, the aircraft is due for its annual inspection so it is coming offline next week for approximately 2-3 weeks. During this time the usual inspections will occur, but we will also be able to collect additional data on how the motor and battery systems have performed thus far. Not great timing but with the short days and dark skies, we would prefer to do the inspections now so that when …sometimes lately we think ‘if’… the sun does decide to show up, we will be all ready to go!
While this plane continues to be tested, we thought it the best time to get moving on what we think we do best <drum roll please > building another plane!
Yes, on the 2nd anniversary of our first flight, we wanted to let you all know first, that ePlane #2 is in the works!
In fact, our next prototype aircraft, C-FIFQ, is actually already in the hangar! The aircraft has been stripped, all powerplant and fuel systems as well as all subsystems have been removed and the airframe is undergoing alterations to prepare it for conversion. The new prototype will be our certification validation aircraft, following the design used on our proof-of-concept prototype closely as the performance achieved was beyond expectations. This aircraft will remain within existing approved gross weight and centre of gravity ranges. Given the excellent performance so far, we have decided to move forward with a Hartzell and their 4-blade raptor composite propeller (Hartzell Propellers) . This is a prototype propeller and will be undergoing its own certification program concurrently. We decided on this particular propeller because it optimises the balance between improved performance and reduced noise. Investigation of the propeller governor and throttle control system is ongoing. We are designing it to include a reversing system for ground operations on this aircraft. We are also excited to let you know that magniX has made progress with their certification program, including gaining agreement from the FAA to classify their electric propulsion system as an aircraft engine. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has also issued a Special Condition paper that will allow them to certify their system as an aircraft engine under FAA Aviation Regulation 14 CFR Part 33. This program is being run concurrently with Transport Canada, who is working on their own Special Condition paper to allow the same pathway to certification in Canada. Our battery partner, H55 has a pathway to certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, however we are investigating what that looks like with Transport Canada as it is a path that has not been walked before. Preliminary meetings have been held with Transport Canada, who adopted the performance-based rules of FAA Aviation Regulation FAR 23 amendment 64 this fall, providing us the basis of certification necessary to approve this conversion.
Although you are all the first to know, we will be posting pictures of C-FIFQ on our Harbour Air Aerospace Facebook and Instagram pages so please follow us and let us know what you think! We do try to monitor our social media pages closely and our team will respond to any questions, ideas or feedback you have. We love to hear it all and sometimes knowing how many eyes are on the project keep us just a little more focused on keeping up with all that paper work.
Thank you all and from our team to your, we hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season. We appreciate all of your encouragement and support and look forward to providing more updates in 2022!
Dear ePlane followers,
On behalf of the ePlane team over here at Harbour Air, we wanted to thank you again for joining us on our quest to get the first fully electric plane certified for commercial use in Canada. As we hadn’t reached out to you all since our announcement regarding our partnership with H55 back in April, we thought it was time to give a bit of an update about what we’ve been doing.
We are closing in on 30 test flights performed, continuing to evaluate take-off, climb, cruise, range and endurance performance. Although Greg is still our main test pilot, we have also welcomed Eric Barry, another Harbour Air flight crew member to the test team. Greg and Eric split performing these flights at various power settings to simulate different magniX motors in order to accurately size the motor for the certification design. Regrettably, we have had a small setback in our flight testing – our charging station is undergoing repairs/maintenance and thus we are delayed. As the charging process is unique to this project because in addition to the charging station it requires a separate external component with tailored software to communicate with the plane, this isn’t a simple repair or replacement but we do hope to have it back up and running by mid-September.
Transport Canada continues to be great partners on the project with us and we have submitted some of the project’s preliminary documentation. For all you industry buffs out there, this includes our plan to use the new amendment 64 to CAR 523 when it is adopted later this year. For all none industry buffs, this simply means that we are working on agreement with Transport Canada as to the best path to obtain certification of the electric conversion.
Along with our partners at magniX and H55, we have completed our Preliminary Design Review (PDR) on the design iteration for certification. As previously mentioned, after flights at various power settings we have decided to move forward with the magni350 EPU for our certification version of the aircraft. We are also reviewing the propeller design to determine if any further efficiencies or performance improvements can be made although we are extremely satisfied with the current performance.
Formula E Championship
As some of you may have heard, Vancouver has won the bid to host the Formula E championship event on July 2nd, 2022 ABB Formula E Vancouver and we couldn’t be more excited! We hope to have the ePlane ready to be showcased to the world and will continue to keep you all updated on what that will mean for our loyal ePlane followers. More details coming soon….
We are always here to answer any further questions that you have and will work hard to be better at sending more regular updates. If interested, please find links to recent media coverage here:
All Electric And All At Sea
Electrifying Caravans and Beavers
Beaver vs Goliath
Again, thank you all for your interest, support and most importantly, enthusiasm in our project.
Greg and Harbour Air’s ePlane Team
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Thursday, May 16 2019, the founder and CEO of BC-born Harbour Air Group and Harbour Air Seaplanes, Greg McDougall, was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. On the heels of its plans to convert one of the airline’s aircrafts and launch the first all-electric commercial flight, McDougall is now one of 237 individuals honoured for their contribution to Canadian aviation.
“It’s an incredible experience to reflect back on the history and milestone moments of Harbour Air that brought us here tonight,” said Greg McDougall, founder & CEO of Harbour Air Seaplanes. “To be surrounded by industry leaders and aviation champions, I am extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and humbled to be amongst these renowned leaders of innovation and aviation.”
Surrounded by industry pioneers, McDougall took the opportunity to unveil the first look at the Harbour Air’s ePlane design, which will convert one of the fleet’s existing DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver aircraft powered by the magni500, a 750 horsepower (HP) all-electric motor. The aircraft is currently being overhauled with plans for the first all-electric test flight expected to take place in November 2019.
Canada has a longstanding history of innovation and leadership in the aviation industry. Harbour Air’s partnership with magniX, the company powering the electric aviation revolution, is another example of harbour Air’s commitment to innovation and aviation leadership.
“Our steadfast focus on safety, innovation and service was the breakthrough of our operation and certainly its ongoing success, “said McDougall. “We are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first commercial aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion. We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.”
The 2019 inductions will be the 46th annual celebration of Canadian aviation accomplishments and will bring to 237 the number of Canadians who have been installed as Members of the Hall. In addition, 23 organizations have been honored, receiving the Belt of Orion Award of Excellence.
Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is located at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.
About Harbour Air
Founded in 1982 with two seaplanes, Harbour Air is now North America’s largest and first fully carbon-neutral airline. The company’s international seaplane service, which originally began as a service for the forestry industry in B.C., is now a quintessential west coast experience. With a showcase fleet of more than 40 aircraft, Harbour Air offers up to 200 daily scheduled flights, scenic tours, adventure packages, and private flights. With 12 scheduled destinations connecting downtown Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle (WA), Nanaimo, Tofino, Whistler, South Vancouver (YVR), Sechelt, Salt Spring Island, Pitt Meadows, Maple Bay and Comox, B.C. born Harbour Air transports 500,000 passengers every year.